Texas Heat

Shade of the Oaks

Oak trees bordering the corral offer the cattle a bit of relief, shading them from the scorching 102° afternoon heat.
Ozone filters the blue from the sky, aging the image.

Brushy Creek Vineyards

We arrived at Brushy Creek Vineyards Saturday afternoon for a glass of wine to find a Les on his B-Daybirthday party for the owner, Les Constable, in the Owl’s Nest. Les was off giving a wine tour, leaving the party to continue without him. He did join the party in time to for this photo, sporting his new dixie cup, a reminder of his submariner days. Thanks for the pic Patti.

Be sure to wish the Winemaker a Happy Birthday when you stop in to sample his Texas made wines.

Garden Spider

Climb to the Top

Black and Yellow Garden Spiders are not known to be harmful to humans, but they sure are tough on each other. Gives new meaning to climbing the ladder of success.

Click on image to enlarge, if you dare.

Welcome Home

Our neighbor was welcomed home by a not-so-friendly face slithering up the post of her Copperheadfront gate, attempting to make a meal out of a cicada emerging from its shell. Stepping back to a safe distance, she made a camera phone image of this hungry grocery shopper in a very dangerous location. Even though the color balance was effected by ambient light and I cropped the original, lowering the image quality, this “Texas Worm,” as she referred to it, can still be identified as an immature Broad Banded Copperhead, based on photographs by Carl J. Franklin on UTA’s webpage about Copperheads in Texas , which contains good information and advice for anyone planning an outdoor adventure or hanging out in their backyard.

More information about venomous snakes of Texas can be found at Texas Junior Naturalists, useful to kids and adults alike.

Always remember, to help avoid snake and spider bites, don’t put your hand where you can’t see.

Small World

Continuing on the “Small World” theme, I struck out in the park with my macro lens to photograph some Cottonwoodfrogvery small frogs I had previously seen on the banks of Cottonwood Lake.  No larger than my thumbnail, there were many of them to chose from jumping out of my way as I walked, but they were difficult to focus on, moving quickly.  I finally found this one sitting on a piece of driftwood thinking he was disguised for a moment, just long enough for me to get a shot.

The other obvious subject by the lake for a macro lens was this male Widow Skimmer Dragonflymoving from one blade of grass to the next and finally coming to rest on a twig with its wing sparkling nicely in the rising sun.  I don’t know what they were after that morning, but there were a lot of them doing it.

Click on image to enlarge.

Dung Beetle

Dung Beetle1

Think your job stinks?  Well, I don’t think you will get any sympathy from this guy or gal, I didn’t want to check, as it works a choice piece of horse manure across the driveway. I am confidant it will have plenty to eat around here with our two hay burners. While they will  eat the dung of omnivores, they prefer that of herbivores and in some parts of Thailand people eat them.

Morning Trail Ride

A hot summer day at the Grasslands usually thins out the crowd and clears the way for a Hidden trailgood romp through the woods, so we headed for the park.  Mostly we had the trail to ourselves, but we did find some other people out enjoying the relative cool of the morning. The Boy Scouts were finishing breakfast before making preparations to pack up and head home, looking forward to some AC, I would wager. Josh and Autumn had made an early start on their training for the Way of St. James, seeing their car was there when we started and gone when we returned. We did come across Frank and his mare Sandy on the trail about half way for us.Frank&Sandy  But not even close for him, he still had 3 miles to ride to his house after he reached Black Creek Lake. That shows a generous commitment to the ride. The highlight of the ride for the horses was a stop at Coyote Pond for a chance to cool their feet and make some bubbles.  As we were pulling out, others were just arriving for a ride. I guess that’s commitment.



Troop 145 Goes Fishing

Troop 145

Driving down FS 900 we found BSA Troop 145 from Boyd Texas hiking toward Cottonwood Lake looking for a fishing adventure. The 10-month-old Troop led by Scoutmaster Gerald Stuteville is off to a good start not letting a little Texas heat keep them from some fun on their overnight camp out in the Grasslands. To join the fun, check them out in the Mustang District of the Longhorn Council.

Training for a Walk

Facing a Texas day in August on foot with full packs for a 10 mile walk can be a dauntingJosh&Autumn task. But, that’s what we found Josh and Autumn   doing this morning at TADRA Point. Today’s walk is the first of many they have planned, working their way up to 20 miles a day in preparation for Northern Spain’s Camino de Santiago de Compostela, a 500-mile pilgrimage to the relics of the Apostle James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The popular journey traverses two mountain ranges, plains and a variety of majestic scenery in the North of Spain. Details of the Pilgrimage can also be found in Rick Steves’ list of travel adventures.

The Pilgrimage will be special for Josh and Autumn because it will also be their honeymoon.



We met back up with them by the Cottonwood Lake looking a little hot but still moving on down the trail.

“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much…. ”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson